Oct. 22 (UPI) -- China is ready to open the world's longest sea bridge this week, which stretches from its mainland to Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will open to traffic Tuesday after a ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but only motorists with special permits will be able to use it, The Guardian reported.
The $20 billion, 34-mile-long bridge will directly connect Zhuhai and Hong Kong for the first time and shorten the trip from Hong Kong International Airport to Zhuhai, the South China Morning Post reported.
The bridge includes a four-mile submerged tunnel, built so it would not interfere with the congested shipping routs along the Pearl River Delta, CNN reported. The tunnel spans between two small man-made islands in shallow waters.
Some have argued the bridge was not needed, with other well-established transportation links existing. Others raised environmental concerns over the Chinese white dolphins that frequent the area, as well as other objections.
"It is a politically driven mega-project without urgent need," pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu told The Guardian, saying another bridge will drop its traffic flow by 25 percent by 2030. "Basically it is redundant."
The bridge had been under construction for nearly 10 years.
"It's been dragged on for so long and it's so expensive, and there are already means of going to the western side of the Pearl River Delta," Mee Kam Ng, a professor at the department of geography at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, told The Guardian.